Japans COVID-19 infections hit highest since Dec. 13 no end of lockdown in sight

Japan got its first milestone reached with an overall reign of sternercorrection of its coronavirus lockdown on Tuesday with daily and weekend cases hitting a record high since the country recorded its first infections a week ago.

Japan has controlled the rate of infection for more than three months largely largely cut a swathe of infected cases in half and improved infection control after a surge that resulted in hundreds of cases earlier this month.

But the country is now grappling with a surge in infections that has led to the return of a strict lockdown in which schools and businesses were closed and social life renewed with major holidays nixed and extensive testing mandatory.

That has resulted in a spike in cases with at least 135 infections occurring in the last 24 hours according to the health ministry. The surge has prompted about 4400 hospitalizations and 12 deaths since Aug. 5 when the lockdown was eased.

The health ministry collected 1083 new infections with 30 deaths. The country is now battling a record high COVID-19 death toll of 950 an increase of 4000 above the previous day. Japan has reported 4651 cases in total including 426 deaths according to the health ministry.

Japans biggest daily increase in new cases this week was 12 gaining by 108 against 148 the previous day bringing the cumulative to 83700.

The government on Tuesday announced plans to expand primary care clinics to 500 additional locations with close proximity to the virus infection from just 300 last week. It also plans to expand safe-deposit boxes for patients who have a fever and to set up mandatory testing for patients under age 50.

The number of people in intensive care units with COVID-19 infection fell to 1573 well below the high of 4554 set a day earlier for the first time since March down from a peak in mid-July of 4998.